Engaging Students in Difficult Discussions

In recent weeks, we have all seen the power of student voices to effect change as student activists, at Georgetown and around the country, have demanded stronger responses from university officials over the many forms of racism on college campuses. At Georgetown, the conversations have led to incredible change, and this important dialogue is no doubt just beginning. Conversations about difference can, at times, be difficult, and knowing how and when to start a dialogue about issues of diversity and difference can be challenging. However, we know from years of experience with the Doyle Engaging Difference Program that incorporating topics of diversity and inclusion into a course’s curriculum can have a significant impact on student perceptions and enhance students’ empathy, self-awareness, and compassion.

As you consider whether and how to raise these issues in your course, we wanted to offer some suggestions and resources for you. As always, please feel free to contact us at cndls@georgetown.edu to make an appointment with one of our colleagues.

  • Consider incorporating diversity not only into course content but also through the dynamic interactions of assignments, activities, and discussions.
  • Be intentional about your engagement with the topic, and try to set a tone of dialogue and community.
  • Give your students reflective opportunities to strengthen their own voices around matters of identity and inclusion. This type of engaged examination will sustain our community, but also support Georgetown’s mission of shaping thoughtful citizens who will become ambassadors for engagement, dialogue, and compassion in communities well beyond these walls.

You can find more resources on this topic by visiting the “Difficult Discussions” page on our own Teaching Commons site.

Additionally, if you would like to join a cohort of faculty at Georgetown engaged with these issues, please consider applying to the Doyle Engaging Difference Program’s Faculty Fellowships.